Make the Most of the New Office 365 Features

In: BlogDate: May 01, 2018By: Billy Burgess

Office 365 subscribers will know that Microsoft regularly unfurls new features and updates for the software’s constituent apps. But given the frequency of these updates, there’s a chance you either haven’t caught up or are yet to take full advantage of the exciting new additions.

Here’s a look at some attention-grabbing features to have shown up in recent months.

Meeting Tracking in Microsoft Outlook

Previously only meeting organisers could view the responses to a meeting invite in Outlook. But now all invitees can see who’s accepted, declined or is still undecided about a meeting invite. This has obvious benefits, making it so you know who and what to prepare for; if the meeting will provide an opportunity to address certain pressing matters; and whether or not there’s much to be gained from your presence.

Convert handwriting to text in OneNote

Those already utilising OneNote’s handwritten notes feature (which is especially suited to touchscreen devices, but also possible with a mouse) will be pleased to learn that notes can now be easily and accurately converted to text. This means adapting quick handwritten notes taken in meetings or during moments of inspiration into text for easy editing and expansion.

This function even lets you preserve the size and ink colour from the hand-scribbled notes, as well as keeping any distinctive highlights or effects.

Link a Project task to Microsoft Planner

Online subscribers to Microsoft Project 2016 can now link their Project tasks to Microsoft Planner. This allows you to analyse the project workload and accordingly structure a team, assign separate tasks, and keep track of the task’s status. This is all done by virtue of the user-friendly task board view, keeping you organised, on-track and therefore optimising project productivity.

Edit using Learning Tools in Word

Office Learning Tools aim to improve reading and comprehension by assisting with word pronunciation, the speed of the reading process and one’s overall grasp of the written content.

It’s now possible to use Learning Tools during the writing and editing of your own Word documents. Particularly handy is the Read Aloud tool, which lets you listen back to your document while simultaneously seeing each word highlighted. Also, in case you were concerned, documents will still print as normal and all fellow authors can still edit the document in the original view (without the Learning Tools annotations and visual changes).

Insert 3D models into Word, Excel and PowerPoint

It’s now possible to directly insert 3D objects into your Word documents, Excel workbooks and PowerPoint presentations. This will help with effectively demonstrating key ideas and making instructive texts more immediately comprehensible.

The update allows for 360-degree rotation of the inserted 3D models, letting you highlight specific features of the inserted object and also giving a better representation of scale.

Office Sounds

Previously available as a separately downloadable add-in, the Office Sounds feature is now available for all subscribers. This is great news as Office Sounds provide live audio feedback on actions and changes occurring in the various Office apps, all in the name of maximising productivity.

The added audio feedback ranges from sounds confirming that an action – such as sending an email, making an upload or download or pasting large content – has now completed, to sounds informing you of changes in the on-screen options.

You can switch sounds on (or off) by scrolling down to Options in the File menu then selecting “Provide feedback with sound” under Feedback Options in the Ease of Access tab.

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Billy Burgess

Billy has been writing blogs for Happy since 2017, covering mindfulness, stress management, confidence building and emotional intelligence as well as offering handy tips for Office 365 users. As an arts, culture and lifestyle writer, his work is regularly published in Music Feeds, VICE,, Beat magazine and Mixdown.

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